Need to heal a scrape? Put some Neosporin on it. Want to soothe chapped lips? Grab the Vaseline. We tend to stock our medicine cabinets with similar first-aid products—the ones we grew up using. Unfortunately, like we’ve found with beauty and cleaning products, the biggest brands often contain petroleum and other chemicals that are unsafe.
True medicine cabinet products should nurture, heal and soothe. Unfortunately, many common products stored in our medicine cabinets are made with petrolatum. Also known as mineral oil, mineral oil jelly or petroleum jelly, petrolatum is a by-product of oil refining.
Besides being a decidedly unsustainable product, this petroleum-derivative doesn’t do our skin any favors. Petrolatum forms a barrier on the skin. This barrier is said to be what locks in moisture and hydrates skin, but it actually does the opposite. The barrier causes bacteria and toxins to build up, leading to breakouts and skin irritation.
Tired of toxic petroleum permeating every aspect of your life? These five petroleum-free replacements for typical medicine cabinet products are alternatives you’ll want to stock up on.
1. Waxelene (Instead of Vaseline)
Chuck that half-used tub of Vaseline and replace it with Waxelene. Waxelene uses beeswax to sooth and moisturize skin, a much more natural alternative to petroleum jelly. Instead of petroleum, Waxelene contains just organic soy oil, beeswax, natural vitamin E oil and organic rosemary oil, and comes in a recyclable glass container. You can use this balm to relieve dry skin anywhere—from chapped lips to cracked elbows. The thick mixture spreads easily, practically melting into your skin. It doesn’t leave a greasy residue and it won’t clog pores. (Vaseline does both.) Infused with rosemary oil, Waxelene perfumes your skin with the faint scent of honey and rosemary.
2. Elemental Herbs All Good Goop (Instead of Neosporin)
What do you do when you get a cut or a scrape? I’m betting you rub a little Neosporin on it and then slap on a Band-Aid. It’s what we were taught to do as kids. How disappointing is it then to find out that you’ve been rubbing petrolatum and parabens, chemical preservatives linked with endocrine disruption, into your wounds this whole time? Try a petroleum-free ointment, like Elemental Herbs All Good Goop. Loaded with healing ingredients, like extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, non-GMO vitamin E and calendula, this healing balm does it all. You can use it to soothe everything from bug bites to diaper rash to chapped lips. Take that Neosporin.
3. Nature’s Baby Organics Ah-Choo! Chest Rub (Instead of Vicks VapoRub)
The familiar eucalyptus scent of Vicks VapoRub got me through many a cough and cold. What I didn't know when I inhaled that healing scent to relieve my nasal congestion was that I was also breathing in a bunch of petroleum and chemicals. Vicks VapoRub contains a slew of undisclosed ingredients all jumbled together under the term “fragrance.” These ingredients could be just about anything, including harmful chemicals. That’s why the Environmental Working Group labels Vicks VapoRub as a moderate hazard.
A better alternative is Nature’s Baby Organics Ah-Choo! Chest Rub. The fragrances in this product are well known. Just eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil. Those comforting essential oils along with sunflower seed oil, coconut oil and olive oil, are all that goes into this creamy gel. Breathe easier with the simple ingredients in this product.
4. Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Instead of Johnson’s Baby Oil)
If you slather Johnson’s Baby Oil on your skin, you’re soaking your body in mineral oil (aka petrolatum) and whatever unknown ingredients make up the term “fragrance." Just go ahead and toss it out right now. You’ll never want it back. Coconut oil can do anything baby oil can do—and better. This green beauty favorite is safe enough to eat and well known for its super moisturizing properties. You can use it to soften skin and condition hair. Then, add it to the cookies you’re baking. Any brand of organic coconut oil will do, but I recently tried Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and loved it. Not only is it USDA-certified organic, and free of petroleum, it’s also Fair Trade, cold pressed and unrefined.
5. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (Instead of ChapStick)
One tube of ChapStick contains more than seventy-five ingredients. Seriously, seventy-five! Many of those ingredients aren’t good for your lips—or your health. Petroleum, parabens, fragrance, oxybenzone, you name it. Pucker up for a healthier lip balm. Try Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. The original lip balm uses soothing ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil and sunflower seed oil, to moisturize lips.
Related on Organic Authority:
What Is Petrolatum and Why Is It In My Beauty Products?
DIY Baby Oil
What’s in Your Mineral Make-up?
image: Merrick Brown